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Bundesliga: Bayern Munich

January 3, 2021

The Bundesliga has become easy pickings for Bayern Munich, so it seems that this season the champions are trying to up the difficulty level. Once again they fell behind, this time to Mainz, but ended up with the win.

Robert Lewandowski has a shot against Mainz
Robert Lewandowski's late double made sure for Bayern against MainzImage: Andreas Gebert/AFP/Getty Images

Bayern Munich 5-2 Mainz, Allianz Arena
(Burkardt 32', Hack 44' — Kimmich 50', Sané 55', Süle 70', Lewandowski 76' pen., 83')

Five goals in 33 second half minutes turned a shock defeat in to a comfortable win, as Bayern Munich continued their recent pattern of winning from a losing position.

This is is the eighth Bundesliga match in a row where they've trailed. But the champions have taken 18 points from those contests, which included games against Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig, the rest of the Bundesliga's top four.

"At the moment, we need an alarm call to get into the game," said Leroy Sané afterwards.

Turning it around

That call came when Manuel Neuer tipped Danny Latza's close-range effort on to the post shortly after halftime. Mainz's interim coach Jan Siewert must've had a sinking feeling. 

Jonathan Burkardt had edged out Jerome Boateng to finish after half an hour and Alexander Hack's towering back post header had doubled the lead, but no two-goal lead is safe against this Bayern team.

When the returning Joshua Kimmich nodded in Bayern's first, the tide had turned. Leroy Sané drove inside to crash in a left-footed drive, Niklas Süle's deflected effort gave Bayern the lead and then Robert Lewandowski extracted his pound of flesh, first from the penalty spot then inside the six-yard box.

Though Hansi Flick's men seem to have mastered the comeback, the Bayern coach was not comfortable relying on the eleven men he sent out to do the job. Leon Goretzka and Niklas Süle were sent on for struggling duo Benjamin Pavard and Jerome Boateng at the interval.

Energy-sapping style

But it was the challenge, as well as the changes, which seemed to invigorate the Bavarians. Eight titles in a row can easily lead to complacency and, as with Borussia Dortmund, there's been a measure of it in Bayern's recent displays. The relentless schedule of 2020 has also played a part, with Flick often conceding his side have looked tired.

Niklas Süle celebrates putting Bayern Munich in the lead
Niklas Süle was one of two halftime changes from Hansi FlickImage: Lukas Barth-Tuttas/Getty Images

"It's really difficult when you keep going a goal down," said Kimmich afterwards. "We have to win games more easily because winning them like this costs energy."

It does, and with a jam packed six months ahead of them, more controlled wins will be required. They may be the best team in the Bundesliga, and in Europe, but even Bayern surely can't afford to handicap themselves every week.

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